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Agroecology, Midwestern Black Farmers, And A Kimchi Startup

An overhead view of a landscape with a garden bed cultivated in a lush green landscape with some partial structures nearby and two people standing in the garden.

Güakiá Colectivo Agroecológico is an 11 acre farm located on the Northern part of The Island. They have worked out an agreement with the local nuns who own the land, to clear, improve and maintain the land, for the low-cost rent of $1 per acre (Courtesy of Güakiá Colectivo Agroecológico)

"Our overall mission is to grow a variety of food that is adapting to the changing climate" 

This week on our show we explore two approaches to sustainable agriculture, working with nature to grow food. One in Puerto Rico, and one here in Indiana. We visit a kimchi stand at a farmers market in North Carolina, and Harvest Public Media brings us stories about Black farmers in Oklahoma and Iowa, and a row crop farmer experimenting with new methods.

We talk with Marissa Reyes Diaz and Stephanie Monserrate Torres from Güakiá, a farming collective in Puerto Rico based in agroecology. Güakiá means “ours” or “us” in Taíno, the language that is from the Native Indians of The Island.

Stephanie Monserrate Torres and Marissa Reyes Diaz in a room looking at the camera and smiling .
Stephanie Monserrate Torres and Marissa Reyes Diaz gave a talk about Güakiá at The Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University. (Kayte Young/WFIU)

Shortly after they started their project, they were hit with two hurricanes, Erma and Maria. They took the opportunity to work with the community surrounding the farm.

Marissa Reyes Diaz and Stephanie Monserrate Torres visited the Indiana University Food Institute in 2019 to talk about their project.

Music on This Episode

The Earth Eats’ theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Additional music from the artists at Universal Productions Music.

Stories On This Episode

Creating Condiments And Community With The Spicy Hermit

Eunice Chang sells several varieties of kimchi at the Saturday Farmers' Market in Durham, NC (photo courtesy of The Spicy Hermit)

Josephine McRobbie caught up with a food entrepreneur who goes by the name The Spicy Hermit.

Sobremesa Farm--Permaculture In Action

Landscape with barn and hoophouse reflecting in pond and sun beam cutting across the image

Like Agroecology, permaculture farming is based on working within the natural systems to grow food in a sustainable manner.

'Our Heart Is In It:' Black Farmers Work To Keep Ancestral Legacy Alive

Nathan Bradford Jr. and Willard Tillman wearing ball caps and leaning their arms on a metal gate.

There are fewer than 1,800 Black farmers in Oklahoma, and many are working second jobs to make a living.

Why Are There So Few Black Farmers In The Midwest?

A photot of a newspaper article about the Stepp Family Melon Farm including a photo of a couple and of workers on the farm.

Most Midwest farmers are white. In 1900, there were about 300 Black farm families in Iowa. Only about half remained in 1970, and the numbers continued to decline for decades.

Iowa Farmer Invents 'Cluster Cluck 5000' To Bring Livestock Back To Crop Fields

Zack Smith patting the head of a pig in an open pen next to a small building with tall corn stalks next to the pen.

As harvest season winds down, one farmer in north Iowa is collecting data from his first year experimenting with a combination of crops and livestock. He calls it “stock cropping.”

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